KR101012065B1 - Hermetic electrowetting device - Google Patents

Hermetic electrowetting device Download PDF

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Publication number
KR101012065B1
KR101012065B1 KR1020087014096A KR20087014096A KR101012065B1 KR 101012065 B1 KR101012065 B1 KR 101012065B1 KR 1020087014096 A KR1020087014096 A KR 1020087014096A KR 20087014096 A KR20087014096 A KR 20087014096A KR 101012065 B1 KR101012065 B1 KR 101012065B1
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KR
South Korea
Prior art keywords
gasket
contact
electrowetting
cap
base
Prior art date
Application number
KR1020087014096A
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Korean (ko)
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KR20080069241A (en
Inventor
프레데릭 론느
스테판느 루
마리안느 스템펠
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바리옵틱
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Priority to EP05112056.6 priority Critical
Priority to EP20050112056 priority patent/EP1798578B1/en
Application filed by 바리옵틱 filed Critical 바리옵틱
Publication of KR20080069241A publication Critical patent/KR20080069241A/en
Application granted granted Critical
Publication of KR101012065B1 publication Critical patent/KR101012065B1/en

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    • GPHYSICS
    • G02OPTICS
    • G02BOPTICAL ELEMENTS, SYSTEMS, OR APPARATUS
    • G02B3/00Simple or compound lenses
    • G02B3/12Fluid-filled or evacuated lenses
    • G02B3/14Fluid-filled or evacuated lenses of variable focal length
    • GPHYSICS
    • G02OPTICS
    • G02BOPTICAL ELEMENTS, SYSTEMS, OR APPARATUS
    • G02B26/00Optical devices or arrangements using movable or deformable optical elements for controlling the intensity, colour, phase, polarisation or direction of light, e.g. switching, gating, modulating
    • G02B26/004Optical devices or arrangements using movable or deformable optical elements for controlling the intensity, colour, phase, polarisation or direction of light, e.g. switching, gating, modulating based on a displacement or a deformation of a fluid
    • G02B26/005Optical devices or arrangements using movable or deformable optical elements for controlling the intensity, colour, phase, polarisation or direction of light, e.g. switching, gating, modulating based on a displacement or a deformation of a fluid based on electrowetting
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y10TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC
    • Y10STECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y10S277/00Seal for a joint or juncture
    • Y10S277/935Seal made of a particular material
    • Y10S277/944Elastomer or plastic
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y10TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC
    • Y10STECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y10S277/00Seal for a joint or juncture
    • Y10S277/935Seal made of a particular material
    • Y10S277/944Elastomer or plastic
    • Y10S277/945Containing fluorine
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y10TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC
    • Y10STECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y10S277/00Seal for a joint or juncture
    • Y10S277/935Seal made of a particular material
    • Y10S277/944Elastomer or plastic
    • Y10S277/945Containing fluorine
    • Y10S277/946PTFE

Abstract

The present invention is directed to an electrowetting device comprising a first and a second immiscible fluid (500, 502), wherein the liquid comprises a cap portion (202), a base portion (206), a first contact surface on the cap portion. A gasket 204 formed of a first material located between 222, 224 and second contact surfaces 250, 252 on the base portion, and between the gasket and one of the first contact surface and the second contact surface. Sealed in a structure comprising a first film (400, 402, 404, 406) formed of a second material.

Description

Hermetic Electronic Wet Device {HERMETIC ELECTROWETTING DEVICE}

The present invention relates to an electrowetting device, in particular a liquid lens, and a method of manufacturing the same. In particular, the invention relates to sealing two parts of an electrowetting device.

Many embodiments of varifocal liquid lenses are described in co-assigned European patent N ° 1166157. Figure 1 of the present application corresponds to Figure 12 of the European patent. As shown in FIG. 1, the optical lens includes two insulating transparent plates 100 and 102. The plate 102 includes conical or cylindrical recesses and the side portions 104 are inclined with respect to the optical axis Δ of the device and receive droplets of insulating liquid 106. The rest of the chamber extending up to the transparent plate 100 is filled with a second liquid 108 that is conductive. The liquids cannot be mixed and have different refractive indices but almost the same density. The transparent electrode 110 is formed on the outer surface of the transparent plate 102. The other electrode 112 is provided to be in contact with the liquid 108.

Due to the electrowetting effect, by applying a voltage between the electrodes 110 and 112, the curvature of the interface between the first liquid 106 and the second liquid 108 can be reduced from the initial concave shape shown, for example, by line A. It is possible to change to the convex shape shown by line B. Thus, light rays passing through the cells perpendicular to the plates 100 and 102 in the region of the droplets 106 will be slightly focused according to the applied voltage.

When manufacturing the variable lens shown in FIG. 1, it is necessary for the electrode 110 to be electrically insulated from the conductive liquid 108 and also to tightly seal the liquid in the container.

International patent publication WO 2005/073779 shows a variable focus lens package that uses a sealing ring to seal the fluid chamber, thus preventing fluid from leaking out of the chamber.

However, the Applicant has found that the pressure exerted by the liquid on the container can be very high during the manufacturing process or during subsequent use due to the manufacturing process or if the device is subjected to high temperatures. If an improper seal is provided, the liquid can exit the lens, resulting in degradation of the optical performance of the lens. Therefore, a specific seal is needed that can withstand the pressure exerted by the liquid. Moreover, liquids 108 and 106 can be corrosive to certain materials and improperly make many materials to seal the lens, thus limiting the choice of materials that can be used.

Therefore, there is a need for a variable lens housing and method of manufacturing the same that provide a good hermetic seal that still prevents leakage of the lens, including when the pressure exerted by the liquid is high, while still allowing the lens to be easily manufactured.

One object of the present invention is to provide an electrowetting device and a manufacturing method thereof, which address the above needs.

According to a first aspect of the invention, an electrowetting device is provided, the electrowetting device comprising a first and a second immiscible fluid defining an interface that is movable by electrowetting, the liquid comprising a cap A gasket formed of a first material located between the portion, the base portion, the first contact surface on the cap portion and the second contact surface on the base portion, formed of a gasket and a second material between one of the first contact surface and the second contact surface Sealed in a structure comprising a first film.

According to another aspect of the invention, there is provided a method of manufacturing an electrowetting device comprising a first and a second immiscible fluid, the method comprising: a cap portion having a first contact surface, a second contact surface; Providing a gasket formed of a first material having a base portion having and a first side in contact with the second contact surface and a second side in contact with the second surface; and a first contact surface, a first of the gasket. Forming at least a first film of a second material on at least one of the side, the second contact surface, and the second side of the gasket, placing a gasket between the cap portion and the base portion and between the base and the cap portion. Positioning the first and second fluids; Applying a certain amount of pressure such that the gasket and the first film are sufficiently compressed to create a seal between the cap portion and the base portion to seal the first and second fluid therein.

According to another aspect of the present invention, a variable focus lens is provided, wherein the variable focus lens comprises first and second immiscible fluids having different refractive indices, which define a light-focusing interface that is movable by electrowetting. Wherein the liquid comprises a cap portion, a base portion, a gasket formed of a first material located between a first contact surface on the cap portion and a second contact surface on the base portion, a gasket and a first contact surface and a second contact surface. Sealed in a structure comprising a first film formed of a second material between one.

According to yet another aspect of the present invention, an optical aperture is provided, which includes first and second immiscible fluids that define an interface that is movable by moist wet, wherein the liquid comprises a cap portion, a base portion, A gasket formed of a first material located between a first contact surface on the cap portion and a second contact surface on a base portion, a first film formed of a second material between the gasket and one of the first contact surface and the second contact surface It is sealed in a structure that includes.

According to another aspect of the invention, there is provided a camera module comprising an electrowetting device, a variable focus lens or an optical aperture as described above. According to another aspect of the invention, there is provided a mobile telephone comprising the camera module described above.

Further aspects, features and advantages of the invention will become apparent from the following detailed description of exemplary preferred embodiments when considered in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

1 is a schematic diagram illustrating an embodiment of a known variable focus liquid lens.

2 is a perspective view showing a cross section of an embodiment of a variable focus liquid lens according to the present invention;

3a to 3c are schematic cross-sectional views respectively of a cap portion, a gasket and a base portion of the variable focus liquid lens according to the embodiment of FIG. 2 during one manufacturing step according to the invention;

4A-4C are schematic cross-sectional views of the cap portion, gasket, and base portion of the liquid lens embodiment of FIG. 2 during a further manufacturing step in accordance with the present invention.

5 is a schematic cross-sectional view of the assembled variable focus liquid lens of FIG. 2 in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

6 is a schematic diagram illustrating a portion of a mobile telephone including an optical device having a variable focus lens in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

For clarity, throughout the drawings, similar reference numerals are used for corresponding features. The drawings are not drawn to scale.

2 shows a cross-sectional perspective view of one embodiment of a variable focus liquid lens. Lens 200 includes cap portion 202, gasket 204, and base portion 206, which cap portion 202 is positioned above base portion 206, but separated therefrom by gasket 204. do.

The cap portion 202 includes a metal cap 208 formed of a thin conductive metal sheet, the disk-shaped glass window 210 being sealed to the sheet by a seal 212 formed by, for example, an adhesive. The cap has a circular opening 214 that allows light to pass through the glass window 210. The circular opening 214 is centered on the optical axis Δ of the lens and is on a plane perpendicular to the optical axis Δ.

The sheet metal of the metal cap 208 is molded or pressed into a form having a plurality of symmetrical parts rotating on the optical axis Δ. Moving outward from the optical axis, the metal cap 208 includes an annular flat portion 216 that surrounds the opening 214 and is preferably perpendicular to the optical axis Δ. The first portion of the inner surface of the portion 216 is in contact with the outer surface of the window 210, and the radial outer portion of the inner surface of the portion 216 is in contact with the outer edge of the window 210 and the seal 212. do. The outer edge of the portion 216 is curved to form an edge 218 extending substantially perpendicular to the optical axis Δ and extending from the portion 216 toward the base portion 206. This edge is also preferably in contact with the seal 212. According to this embodiment, from the edge 218, a further annular substantially "S" shaped portion 220 extends from the optical axis Δ, preferably extending at least substantially perpendicular to the optical axis Δ. Connect the edge 218 to the flat portion 222. This “S” shaped portion 220 is designed to allow some movement of the window 210 when pressure is applied by the fluid inside the lens, but only in a direction parallel to the optical axis Δ.

A bend at right angles from the portion 222 is connected to an annular rim portion 224 extending at least substantially parallel to the optical axis Δ, which connects the gasket 204 and the base portion 206. It forms an outer rim of the lens that surrounds it. The end portion of the portion 224, which is the outer edge of the metal sheet forming the metal cap 208, is preferably bent inwardly in the region 226 towards the optical axis Δ by crimping, thereby making the gasket 204 ) And base portion 206 in place. Such crimping is preferably performed around the entire circumference of the lens. Crimping these edges provides the necessary pressure between the cap and the base portion, while simplifying the manufacturing process and maintaining a low cost.

Thus, the metal cap 208 has a protruding central housing formed from the portions 216 and 218 to receive the glass window 210 and portions 222 and 224 to receive the gasket 204 and the base portion 206. It is preferred to include a larger lower housing formed from). More preferably, these housings are separated by an “S” shaped portion 220.

Preferably, the gasket 204 is formed of a polymer and has an annular, substantially "L" shaped cross section so that the outer surface of the first leg or limb 228 of "L" is a metal cap 208. Contacting and lying parallel to the inner surface of the annular flat portion 222 of the outer surface of the second leg or rim 230 of "L" is the inner surface of the rim portion 224 of the metal cap 208. In contact with and parallel to it, increasing the contact surface. Other forms for the gasket 204 are possible, for example in some embodiments, the gasket may include only the first rim 228. The inner surfaces of the first and second rims 228, 230 are in contact with the surface of the base portion 206, as described in more detail below. The region 232 at the end of the second rim 230 is bent inwardly towards the optical axis Δ by the pressure exerted by the crimped region 226 of the metal cap 208, at which point the gasket ( The inner surface of 204 exerts pressure on the corner of base portion 206 to hold it in place. The end surface 234 of the first rim 228 faces the optical axis Δ and is exposed to the inner chamber of the lens.

The base portion 206 preferably comprises an annular electrode 236 formed of a conductive material, preferably a metal, with a disk-shaped glass window 238 located generally perpendicular to the optical axis Δ attached to the conductive material. For example, by a seal 240 made of an adhesive or an adhesive. An opening 242 is formed in the annular electrode 236 centered on the optical axis Δ to allow light to pass through the glass window 238 from or towards the lens. Glass window 238 is located outside of this opening. The annular electrode 236 is molded or processed in the form of a ring having a plurality of surfaces that are preferably rotatable symmetrically about the optical axis Δ, which is now described in more detail.

The inner edge 244 of the annular electrode 206 surrounding the opening 242 is preferably a surface facing the lens, for example, inclined at approximately 45 degrees to the optical axis. Also, the annular flat portion 246, which is generally perpendicular to the optical axis Δ, is adjacent to and surrounds the edge 244, and further inclined edges facing the lens and nearly parallel to the edge 244 are adjacent thereto. do. Annular flat surface 250 abuts and surrounds inclined edge 248, the inner surface of the annular flat surface being exposed to the inner chamber of the lens, and the outer surface being rim 228 of gasket 204. It provides a first contact surface in contact with the inner surface of the. An edge surface 252 generally parallel to the optical axis Δ is adjacent to the surface 250, which edge surface 252 is preferably in contact with the inner surface of the rim 230 of the gasket 204. Provide a contact surface. The annular flat outer surface 254 adjacent the edge surface 252 faces away from the lens and extends back towards the optical axis Δ. The generally right corner between the edge surface 252 and the outer surface 254 is preferably a corner in contact with the inner region of the gasket 204. An additional surface 256 adjacent to the outer surface 254 extends from the lens generally parallel to the optical axis Δ and an annular surface generally adjacent to the surface 256 and generally perpendicular to the optical axis Δ 258 extends inward toward the optical axis Δ. Radially inwardly facing surface 260 is generally parallel to the optical axis Δ adjacent to surface 258 and extends back towards the inner chamber of the lens. Surface 260 is also adjacent to annular flat surface 262 which is generally perpendicular to optical axis Δ, which annular flat surface 262 terminates at edge 244 at the inner edge of the annular electrode. do. The radially inner portion of surface 262 is in contact with glass window 238, and the radially outer portion of surface 262 is in contact with seal 240 that secures window 238 in place.

Thus, the annular electrode 236 preferably has contact surfaces 260 and 262 for receiving the window 238 and an inclined edge 244 for receiving the first fluid droplet, which will be described in more detail below. And a corner between the first and second surfaces 250 and 252 for contacting the inner surface of the gasket 204 and the surfaces 252 and 254 for contacting the curved portion 232 of the gasket 204. Including, thereby holding the annular electrode 236 in place.

Although not shown in FIG. 2, lens 200 includes a first and second immiscible fluid in an inner chamber formed between windows 210 and 238. The first fluid droplet, which is dielectric, is positioned to cover the opening 242 of the electrode 236 on the surface of the glass window 238. For example, such fluids contain oil. The edge of the drop preferably lies within the pair of surfaces 244 of the electrode 236. For example, the conductive second fluid contains water mixed with an electrolyte such as salt and fills the remaining volume of the chamber. None of the first and second fluids are in direct contact with the exposed surface of the electrode 236, covered with an insulating layer, as described in more detail below. The second conductive fluid is in contact with and in electrical contact with the “S” shaped region 220 of the metal cap 208 exposed to the inner chamber.

In operation, the lens acts in a similar manner to the device of FIG. 1. A vibrating voltage is preferably applied between the electrode 236 and the metal cap 208, which acts as the second electrode and comes into contact with the conductive fluid. This voltage changes the curvature of the interface between the first fluid and the second fluid due to the electrowetting effect of increasing the wettability of the edge 244 through the water. The first and second fluids have different refractive indices so that the light is refracted at its interface. Light passes through windows 210 and 238 and passes through the interface between the fluids. In this embodiment, electrode 236 spans the glass surface of window 238 underneath the droplets as in the case of electrode 110 in FIG. 1 because the edge of the interface is not designed to leave edge 244. It is not necessary to extend.

The seal between the metal cap 208 and the electrode 236 needs to be very strong to contain the first and second fluids without any leakage. This is partly achieved by providing a polymer gasket 204 inserted between the metal cap 208 and the electrode 236. However, the Applicant has found that the gasket 204 itself may cause some leakage around the side of the gasket, particularly during the manufacturing process or when the device is subjected to high temperatures.

According to the present invention, a film is formed between the surface of the gasket 204 and the contact surface of the cap and / or base portion where contact is made between these surfaces. The film is made of a material having mechanical properties that differ from the mechanical properties (eg, hardness, tension, elongation) of the materials that make up the gasket. Advantageously, the film is a polymer film. Applicants have found that forming the film of different mechanical properties increases the contact between the metal cap 208 and / or the contact surface of the electrode 236 and the gasket 204. In fact, the contact surfaces of the gasket 204 with the metal cap 208 and the electrode 236 are not fully contacted due to the strength of these surfaces, resulting in small channels through which liquid or air can pass slowly, and capillary action This will cause some leakage around the side of the gasket.

Forming the variable focus liquid lens of FIG. 2, and in particular the gasket and the polymer film, will now be described with reference to FIGS. 3 to 5.

3A-3C show cross-sectional views of the cap portion 202, the gasket 204 and the base portion 206 of the device 200 in one step, respectively, during fabrication of the device.

Referring to FIG. 3A, the metal cap 208 is formed of a metal alloy sheet such as stainless steel and is not yet crimped, so that the straight rim portion 224, the flat portion 222, and the rippled “S Is pressed into a form having a “shaped portion 220, a flat portion 216 and an opening 214. Since these features are preferably arranged in the manner described in connection with FIG. 2, this arrangement will not be described again. The glass window 210 is bonded in position with the adhesive seal 212, which contacts the inner sides of the portions 218 and 216.

With reference to FIG. 3B, the gasket 204 is preferably made of polymeric material and molded or processed to form a ring having an approximately " L " -shaped cross section as described in connection with FIG. The gasket includes first and second legs or rims 228 and 230. Assuming a full 10 mm lens diameter, rim 228 is nearly 0.5 mm thick and rim 230 is nearly 0.2 mm thick. At the outer corners between the first and second rims 228, 230, the right angle corners are preferably removed, leaving, for example, inclined or inclined edges, so that the gasket is part 224 and 222 of the metal cap 208. Will fit more easily within the inner thickness of

FIG. 3C shows a base portion 206, which includes an annular electrode 236 formed of a metal alloy, such as stainless steel, preferably described with respect to FIG. 2, which will not be described in detail again. Molded or processed into shape. However, as can be seen in the figure, the corners between the contact surfaces 250 and 252, which contact the inner surface of the gasket, are removed to ensure good contact between the surfaces. Window 238 is preferably bonded to surface 262 of annular electrode 236 to provide a seal 240. As shown in FIG. 3C, an insulating layer 300, for example a polymer, is formed on top and sides of the base portion 206, ie, surfaces 256, 254, 252, 250, 248, 246, 244 and windows ( 238 is applied across the surface to ensure that electrowetting is effective.

4A-4C illustrate the formation of a soft polymer coating on cap portion 202, gasket 204 and base portion 206, respectively. It should be noted that the polymer coating does not need to be formed on all these surfaces because the sealing is improved by application of the film over only one of these surfaces. However, more preferably, a coating is formed on both sides of the gasket 204 to ensure good sealing between both the gasket and the cap and base portion.

Referring to FIG. 4A, the soft polymer coating 400 is formed on the exposed inner surface of the metal cap 208, ie, the inner surfaces of the portions 224 and 222, in contact with the gasket 204, and “S” shaped. Is applied on at least a portion of the inner portion of the portion 220.

Referring to FIG. 4B, the gasket 204 is coated on both the outer and inner surfaces with soft polymer coatings 402 and 404, respectively. These are the areas that will contact the metal cap 208 and base portion 206, respectively.

Referring to FIG. 4C, a polymer coating 406 is applied to the outer edge surface 252 and top surface 250 of the annular electrode 236, over the insulating layer 300. These surfaces are the surfaces that will contact the gasket 204 when the device is assembled.

Forming a film between the gasket and the contact surface of the cap portion and / or the base portion improves sealing without further complicating the manufacturing process because the film can be made by coating, as described above, and additional mechanical parts It does not need to be provided.

As shown in FIG. 5, the lens component is then assembled and the fluid is sealed in the lens during assembly. This preferably injects the required amount of droplets of the first insulating fluid 500 into position in the edge 244, while the cap portion 202, the gasket 204 and the base portion 206 are injected with the second conductive fluid 502. Can be achieved by dipping). The gasket 204 is located at a position above the base portion 206, and then the base portion 206 and the gasket 204 are located at a position in the cap portion 202. Alternatively, the gasket 204 may be located at a location inside the cap portion 202, and then the base portion 206 may be located inside the cap portion 202. While still contained in the fluid 502, pressure is applied between the cap portion and the base portion such that the gasket 204 is compressed between the cap and the base and the soft polymer coatings 400, 402, 404 and 406 are preferably Strain is subjected to sufficient pressure to create a tight seal between the gasket and the cap and base portion. While this pressure is applied, the area 226 of the metal cap 208 is crimped to lock the base portion in place. Alternatively, only crimping can provide the necessary pressure between the base portion and the cap portion, deforming the soft polymer coating and creating a seal.

FIG. 5 shows a cross-sectional view of an assembled lens with fluid 500, shown when no voltage is applied between electrodes (line A) and when voltage is applied between electrodes (line B). . Polymer coatings 400, 402, 404, 406 are also shown to provide a seal between gasket 204 and cap portion 202 and base portion 206.

The absolute and relative hardness values of the gaskets and polymer coatings can contribute to creating a good seal. Preferably, a soft polymer coating is provided, which is soft enough to deform and create a hermetic seal when pressure is created between the base portion and the cap portion. Shore hardness (A) in the range of 20 to 40 for such polymer coatings has proven to work well, where Shore hardness (A) is a Shore measure of hardness using a type A durometer. . The polymer may be an elastomer, especially a fluorinated elastomer to improve chemical resistance. For example, a fluoroelastomer such as Sifel (a polymer having a perfluoropolyether backbone having a terminal silicone cross-linking group, commercialized by Shin-Etsu) is used, for example HFE7200 (3M) or Is applied to thin uniform films 10-30 mm thick by dilution in fluorinated solvents which may include diluent S-100 (Shin Etsu) or equivalent product. The coating is chemically compatible with the fluid of the lens and will not degrade during use. In alternative embodiments, the coating may consist of other types of materials. For example, fluorocarbon FKM (fluoroelastomer) such as some grades of the trademark Viton from Dupont can be used. Alternatively, EPDM (ethylene-propylene-diene-monomer), or a type of silicone or fluorosilicone may be used.

Gasket 204 preferably has Shore hardness D in the range of 40 to 70, where Shore hardness D is a Shore measure of hardness using a Type D durometer. The gasket must be soft enough to deform by the pressure of the metal cap 208 in the region 226 during crimping and be chemically resistant to the liquid used in the lens. However, by applying sufficient pressure on the soft polymer coating, the soft polymer should be rigid enough to be deformed to produce a tight seal.

Moreover, the gasket should have an absorption level of less than 1% for the liquid of the lens, thereby avoiding any liquid or chemicals that disintegrate in the liquid that is absorbed for the life of the lens. In particular the absorption of chemicals results in the non-stable performance of the lens due to, for example, a change in the formulation of the liquid. The gasket can be formed of PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene), for example several grades under the trade name TEFLON (manufactured by Dupont de Nemours) can be used. Alternatively, the gasket can be composed of ceramic material or composite material.

FIG. 6 shows in schematic form an example of an optical device 600 incorporating a lens 200 of variable focal length in accordance with the embodiment of FIG. 2. The optical device includes a mount 610 that fixes a variable focus lens 200 and a group 620 of predetermined lenses. The optical device further includes a control block 640 for controlling the lens 200, which is connected to the electrodes of the lens 200 through the connections 650, 660. Optical sensor array 630 is provided to capture images received through lenses 200 and 620.

Optical device 600 may be incorporated into many different systems, where miniaturized variable focal length optical devices are required, such as, for example, mobile phones, endoscope systems, and the like.

An embodiment of a varifocal lens is described in co-pending European patent number 05111183 in the name of the applicant.

Thus, according to one embodiment of the invention, the liquid lens housing advantageously comprises a cap portion and a base portion separated by a gasket, wherein at least one of the contact surfaces between the gasket and the cap and the base is formed over the material forming the gasket. It advantageously has a softer polymer coating. On the other hand, various preferred embodiments of such lenses and their manufacturing methods are described with reference to the drawings, and many alternatives or modifications will be apparent to those skilled in the art.

Although the exemplary embodiment of the invention described is in the context of a variable lens, the invention is useful for all electrowetting devices that require sealing to contain a liquid. For example, the liquid optical stop can be sealed according to the method described herein.

In some described embodiments, a thin film is applied to both the gasket 204 and the contact surfaces of the base and cap portions, but if a slightly thicker film is provided, it needs to be applied once between the gasket and each contact surface. For example, the polymer coating may be applied only to the inner and outer surfaces of the gasket, not the cap and base portions. Alternatively, the polymer coating may be applied only on the contact surface on the cap and base portion and not on the gasket. Moreover, only a single film applied between the gasket and one of the other contacting surfaces of the base or cap will provide improved sealing of the device.

Although the windows 210 and 238 of the lens have a rectangular cross section in the embodiment of the figure and have neutral optical properties for light incident on the lens, in alternative embodiments, one or both of these windows are convex or concave on their own. It may be a lens.

 While the preferred embodiments for the shapes of the metal cap 208, the gasket 204 and the annular electrode 236 have been described, many alternatives to these forms are possible, while maintaining some or all of the advantages of the described embodiments. Moreover, the cap and base portions need not be crimped together, but can be compressed and held together by a fixing mechanism such as, for example, an adhesive, and welded or fixed together in some other manner. However, crimping offers the advantage of an inexpensive and efficient means of securing the cap and base portion together by force.

The lens embodiment in the figures generally has a thickness in the range of several mm, but in alternative embodiments it may be smaller or larger than this, depending on the requirements. The dimensions of the gasket and other components of the lens will also vary based on the overall size of the lens.

Approximate hardness of gaskets and polymer films are provided by way of example, but in certain circumstances, harder or softer materials may be used. The gasket is preferably a non-elastomeric and the polymer film is preferably an elastomer; However, in certain embodiments, the gasket can be an elastomer and the polymer film is a non-elastomer.

Thus, while at least one exemplary embodiment of the invention has been described, various changes, modifications and improvements will readily occur to those skilled in the art. Such changes, modifications, and improvements are intended to be within the scope of the present invention. Accordingly, the foregoing descriptions are merely examples and are not intended to be limiting. The invention is limited only by the following claims and equivalents thereof.

As described above, the present invention relates to an electrowetting device, in particular a liquid lens, and a manufacturing method thereof, and is used for sealing two portions of an electrowetting device.

Claims (22)

  1. An electrowetting device, comprising first and second immiscible liquids 500, 502 that define an interface that is movable by electrowetting, the liquid comprising:
    Cap portion 202;
    Base portion 206;
    Type of a first material positioned between a first contact surface (222, 224) and a second contact surface (250,252) on the base portion on the cap portion configured gasket 204
    It said structure being sealed in the portion containing,
    The gasket 204 is made of a polymeric material having a Shore hardness (D) in the range of 40 to 70,
    The structure includes a first film 400, 402 made of a polymer coating applied to at least one of the first side of the gasket 204 and the first contact surfaces 222, 224, and the gasket 204. A second film 404, 406 made of a polymer coating applied to at least one of the second side and the second contact surface 250, 252,
    Wherein said polymer coatings comprise a fluorinated elastomer having a Shore hardness (A) in the range of 20-40 .
  2. The method of claim 1, wherein the fluorinated elastomer is a terminal silicone cross-electrowetting device comprising a FER fluorinated polyether backbone (perfluoropolyether backbone) having a binding group (terminal silicone cross-linking group) .
  3. The electrowetting device of claim 1, wherein the first material consists of a non-elastomer.
  4. The electrowetting device of claim 1, wherein the gasket (204) is formed of PTFE.
  5. The electrowetting device of claim 1, wherein the cap portion (202) is crimped to be secured to the base portion.
  6. The electrowetting device of claim 1, wherein the gasket (204) has an annular shape and has an essentially "L" shaped cross section.
  7. A method of making an electrowetting device comprising first and second immiscible fluids (500, 502),
    A cap portion 202 having a first contact surface 222, 224, a base portion 206 having a second contact surface 250, 252, and a first side and the first side for contacting the first contact surface. Providing a gasket 204 formed of a polymeric material having a second side for contacting the surface and having a Shore hardness (D) in the range of 40 to 70 ;
    A first film 400, 402 made of a polymer coating applied to at least one of the first side of the gasket 204 and the first contact surfaces 222, 224, and the second side of the gasket 204; Forming at least a second film 404, 406 made of a polymer coating applied to at least one of the second contact surfaces 250, 252, the polymer coatings having a Shore hardness (A) in the range of 20-40. Comprising a fluorinated elastomer;
    Positioning the gasket between the cap portion and the base portion and positioning the first and second fluid between the base portion and the cap portion;
    Applying an amount of pressure that the gasket and the first film are compressed enough to create a seal between the cap portion and the base portion to seal the first and second fluid therein;
    Comprising a method of manufacturing an electrowetting device.
  8. 8. The method of claim 7, wherein the at least first film (400, 402, 404, 406) is formed by applying a polymer diluted with a solvent .
  9. 8. The method of claim 7, wherein applying pressure comprises crimping the cap portion (202) to be secured to the base portion (206).
  10. A variable focus lens comprising the electrowetting device of claim 1, wherein the first and second immiscible liquids 500, 502 have a variable refractive index defining a light focusing interface that is movable by electrowetting. Focus lens.
  11. An optical aperture comprising the electrowetting device of claim 1 .
  12. A camera module comprising the electrowetting device of claim 1 , the variable focus lens of claim 10 , or the optical aperture of claim 11 .
  13. A mobile telephone comprising the camera module of claim 12 .
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KR1020087014096A 2005-12-13 2006-12-12 Hermetic electrowetting device KR101012065B1 (en)

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EP05112056.6 2005-12-13
EP20050112056 EP1798578B1 (en) 2005-12-13 2005-12-13 Hermetic electrowetting device

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JP (1) JP5070517B2 (en)
KR (1) KR101012065B1 (en)
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US7576922B2 (en) 2009-08-18
JP5070517B2 (en) 2012-11-14
AT500526T (en) 2011-03-15
WO2007068705A1 (en) 2007-06-21
EP1798578B1 (en) 2011-03-02
CN101331412A (en) 2008-12-24
JP2009519479A (en) 2009-05-14
US20070133103A1 (en) 2007-06-14
CN101331412B (en) 2011-06-29
EP1798578A1 (en) 2007-06-20
KR20080069241A (en) 2008-07-25
DE602005026679D1 (en) 2011-04-14

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